Friday, October 22, 2010

Vermiculture: Learning by Experimenting

Well, I've been trying to get some shred of evidence that worms are the voracious eaters that they're reputed to be.  An important tidbit that I've read is that worms don't really eat the food you give them.  They don't have teeth, but they do have a gizzard.  They thus suck parts of rotted organic material to be grounded by the gizzard.  But, they actually get their nutrition from the microbes (bacteria, fungi, protozoa..etc) in the rotting material.

That said, for worms to eat faster, the organic material must have been broken down somewhat already.  That's why it helps to chop the fruit rinds and vegetable scraps before feeding your worms.  I also read that it helps to freeze the materials overnight.  This helps with cellular breakdown, making your organic leftovers more worm-friendly.    I did that too.  I placed the chopped up leaves (mostly herbs) and crushed eggshells in a zip locked bag and I placed it in the freezer overnight.   Afterwards, I thawed it and placed it inside my worm bins.

Finally, I've also read that you should put food scraps in the worm bin according to sections.  Feed on one side first, and then on another.  Apparently, if you feed all around, the process of decomposition would cause the bin to heat up all around, which could be hazardous to your worms.  So I tried that too.  As you would see, both worm bins 2 and 3 were fed by sections.

All in the name of making my worms eat faster.    Well to date, there has been no evidence that the worms liked what I did.  But then again, I have to keep reminding myself that I have to be patient because I only used a handful of worms in these two bins.  I don't think they'll be churning out substantial amounts of vermicompost anytime soon.  Sigh.


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